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June 2019 News from MOAA National

Dateline: 6/6/2019

MOAA’s Tracking 3 Key Issues During the Military Construction Budget Process.

Congress has been moving full steam ahead to get the military construction and veterans affairs (MilCon/VA) appropriations bill through the House and make its next stop at the Senate. Now that the full House Appropriations Committee has passed the spending bill, it will move to the full House for a vote before it moves on to the Senate. 

MOAA is working to ensure that child care, water contamination, and family housing are preserved during Senate reconciliation of the bill.

 

The Truth About Your TRICARE Costs

Congress has long accepted an obligation to provide health care to military retirees who earned this care through their decades of service and sacrifice. However, rising budget tensions seem to magnetically draw this earned benefit onto the chopping block repeatedly, bolstered by a misleading narrative that DoD personnel and health care costs are spiraling out of control. Adding to the confusion is another false narrative that military retirees pay little to nothing for their health care.

MOAA has done the research and provided context to the increases in personnel and health care costs (which, combined, remain approximately 33 percent of the DoD budget) as well as a deeper look into what military retirees pay for their health care. Further complicating these current discussions, MOAA research contends, are the immeasurable health care uncertainties awaiting our post-9/11 servicemembers and their families.

After over 17 years of deployments and war, there are retiree health care needs for which we must account, and for which we must not subject to further premium costs or expose to the erosion of this benefit.

Reviewing the history of TRICARE program changes - DoD underwent its first major change in 1956 when it began including dependent coverage - one might sense the federal government intends to deter beneficiaries from fully using their earned benefit. Any such impediments or challenges to the benefit tarnish a once ironclad recruiting and retention tool.

Read the full white paper on MOAA’s website.

 

VA Care Improvements to Debut On June 6

The long anticipated program mandated in the MISSION Act is about to debut in VA medical facilities around the country starting June 6.
After the launch of the new VA Community Care Program, or VCCP, veterans can expect:

 

·       “To continue to have access to community care under current programs and then transition to the new program when regulations are final and published.

·       To follow an improved process to receive community care under the new program, with better access to community providers and improvements to customer service, such as more streamlined eligibility requirements.

·       A new benefit that provides eligible Veterans with access to urgent, non-emergency care for non-life-threatening conditions in VA’s network of community providers

·       Improved care coordination as VA transitions to a single information technology system that better links together VA and community providers.

·       Your provider to receive timely payments for bills as VA transitions to better claims processing systems.”

 

Simply put, once the VCCP is fully rolled out, veterans can expect to have access to urgent care; see eligibility for community care expanded; be able to schedule their own or have VA schedule their community care appointments; and experience improved communications.
On May 6, VA headquarters provided MOAA and a few other veterans groups some training on VCCP so we can start sharing information with veterans. 
Veterans must be prepared for a few bumps during implementation. Though VA is expecting most of the health system changes will be seamless, and veterans can expect little to no disruption in care, it is important to remember the MISSION Act is one of the most transformative reforms in recent history and to not expect problems is unrealistic. 

Infographics that we made available on MOAA’s website generally illustrate how VA expects the VCCP to operate and how veterans will engage with the program.

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